The Truth About Magical Tools

Author: Quill ofQuillsOccultSupply / Labels: ,

To being with a clarification, candles aren't tools.  Neither are herbs or oils or
incenses.  Those are components, the ingredients of spells.  When you're done using them, they're gone and can't be reclaimed; not so with a tool.

A magical tool is an object that is a standard implement used for spells and rituals of any kind, and it can be used again and again without creating a conflict between purposes.  When I cast a circle with my wand, I can then use that same wand to charge a poppet or draw a sigil over a magical object.  When I'm done doing all that, I put it away,  I don't throw it away.

The most common magical tools are those that we see mostly in their ritual use-- the wand, cup, dagger, and pentacle.  While they do have their place on the altar as representations of masculine and feminine energies and the power of the Elements, they are also useful implements in their own right.

The wand is a classic.  Use it to shape and guide the energy you generate.

The dagger (or athame, if you prefer) is not usually for cutting but for controlling and containing spirits and masses of power better suited to sterner means than the lithe wand.

The cup (chalice) is the perfect way to continue the flow after you've made potions or charged waters; drink your brews from it, use it to asperge, make offerings, or soak objects to be empowered.

The pentacle (paten) is the ideal place to charge objects, acting as a mirror of your power--infusing your item from yourself from above and from the pentacle from below.

There are, of course, many other tools that are used in spellcasting such as the cauldron, boline, and scribe, but we're here to talk about what makes tools important and not just what makes them different.

To talk about that, let's back up a bit.  In the distant past of the magical community, we had a very different view of magical tools than we do today.  Before the Fraudulent Mediums Act which made casters feel compelled to prove their legitimacy as well as their rationality, we could be proud to own an object said to contain immense power and to wield it with importance in our own eyes and in those around us.  Before the Witchcraft Acts which compelled practitioners underground, denying knowledge of the magical properties of any object, we could find power in anything and anywhere.

After these changes, after becoming a society that has all but renounced magic, it has been hard work for its occult subset to regain that lost inspiration toward magical objects.  We're expected to be suspicious and skeptical about any item of power.  Though we well know our own power, there's just no proof of anyone else's.  So we wag fingers and make up rules.  Don't buy items with an impressive reputation for spellcasting and don't get pre-charged formulas.  In short, don't trust anyone or anything to help you work better or faster.  You just can't be too careful.

I tell you now that the truth is far from this attitude.  Other casters are not out to get you.  Sellers who tell you that they charge items (like myself) have very little to gain by lying and a lot of reputation to lose.  If you truly think that there's a risk that you're buying an item with a false, insufficient, or otherwise unacceptable charge attached to it, learn to detect such things instead of denying the validity of others' work.  When you have the talent for detecting the energy of others, you will never fear trickery and the trust and power you will gain is substantial.

In the meantime, you can find the trust and power you seek by getting to know your own tools.  Yes, I'm saying you should have tools, lots of them.  Find out what you like best, what works best for what kind of spells, what sounded good when you found/made/bought it but turned out to be a waste of time.  This is all important stuff.

Once you have your favorite implements, use them.  Use them all the time.  Gather power from other sources--charging them in sun- or moonlight, drawing up energy from the earth, or having fetches or other spirits flood your tools with energy--and tap into it as needed.  You'll be amazed at the results!  I can say this because that is the truth I'm talking about in the title---

Tools are magical storehouses.

That's why you keep them around.  It's not because you want to be fancy or that you're too thick to realize that your finger can be used instead of a wand.  A real wand--fancy or plain--can do great things for you just by holding on to all the strength that has flowed through it from previous spells.  You won't get that from your finger.

There are some easy ways to make this happen.  First is that tools should be made of the most natural materials available.  As has been stated many times before, plastic is a lousy conduit and nil as a battery; the same thing goes for it's abilities when it comes to magical charges.  Try to avoid it unless just as a decorative accent.

Once you have a quality tool you must give it a quality charge.  Having tools in which your faith is strong helps a lot here.  Every time you cast with this tool, if you give the work the very best you have--the strongest visualization you can muster, the most earnest focus, fluid motions, and rhythmic speech patterns--an enviable charge will build up within that tool.

Having items of power at your disposal will not stay a secret for long, which leads to our next truth--

Tools are signifiers.

These items quickly become a symbol of your influence.  Anyone who shares magical space with you will notice not only your comfort in wielding your tools, but also the crackling energy which surrounds such use.  They'll see the results of your work and consider it both your own aptitude at play and that of the grand object you control.

The best part of this is that spirits also take note of this power shift.  Any spirits taking part in your work--whether invited or just as curious interlopers--will recognize your tool as being a sharp weapon, a scepter of your leadership.

Amazingly, after what tools mean to outsiders, there's no comparison to what they mean inside you.  Setting up space with your tools helps to set the mood for the work that's about to begin.  Holding your tools in defense against a greater enemy bolsters your nerve and resolve.  With them by you, you have a physical representation to which to look, symbols of your mastery and might.

So they retain power and act as representations of our hidden ability, but what about what really happens during the casting?

Tools are amplifiers.

Let's think of spellcasting in the same terms as making dinner.  All the components of your spell are ingredients to the recipe you're using.  The power you call up is the heat of your stove and oven.  The formulas, decorations, and music you might employ are spices and herbs to give extra flavor.  Now you're cooking!  Everything is coming together nicely--bubbling pots and sizzling pans giving off wonderful aromas of what treats are to come.  You want to ensure their success, keep things moving in the right direction, and work your ingredients into their final form.

Your tools are your spoon, your spatula, your whisk and tongs.   You can cook without them, to be sure, and make something tasty, but think of the variety of foods you can make with the added implements to whip, deep fry, sear, and bake.  An entire world of cookery is now available to you.  That is the way magical tools work, as well.

In an effort to exert an opinion on a standard method, the magical community has swung too far in the other direction, calling the standard silly, pointless, and stodgy.  What a sad waste of potential that is!

Naturally, the topic of money is closely linked into any discussion of obtaining new items for magic.  I am of the mindset that money is not a necessity to great magic, but knowledge is.  Instead of bashing those who can afford expensive wares, study and work with the natural materials found right outside your door.  Learn the methods for making quality tools yourself and hone those skills carefully.  There are sources of power all around you if you open all your senses to them; utilize what exists around you.  Also study the occult traditions that support straightforward magic, especially using everyday items for spells.  In this, you will be richer and more powerful than anyone who is able to simply lay down cash for a flashy object.

Now that you know what it really means to wield a magical tool--or, hopefully, many--go and show the world.  Take up your wand and staff and perform your miracles.

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My name is Quill and I've been practicing witchcraft for the past 17 years. 10 of those years I've been reading tarot and teaching.  I own a shop on Etsy called Quill's Occult Supply (check it out at full of handmade ritual and decorative items, spell components, and wild picked herbs.

I love to work with my hands.  Magic is a tool to shape our lives, and I'm using magic to shape tools to shape magic.  Cosmic! 

I use a lot of my favorite things in my shop: herbs, candles, wood, fabric, paint, clay.  And I get to carve, burn, grind, mold, think, dream ... I'm in the perfect business!

I've written 3 manuscripts for publication (2 non-fiction and 1 fiction) and am an avid NaNo-er!  I and my husband run a local coven called Orbis Prosapia, and our children are growing up surrounded by magic, mythology, fairy tales, Earth worship, art, open discussion, music, and humor. 

In addition to working on Ex Penna about my experiences as a professional witch, I also write for Scenes from the Circle about being a coven leader. 

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